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Ringrose Returns For Leinster’s Thomond Test

Ringrose Returns For Leinster’s Thomond Test

Garry Ringrose has not played since injurying his jaw during last month's Heineken Champions Cup pool win at home to Northampton Saints ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Garry Ringrose will be back in Leinster blue on Saturday night when they travel to Thomond Park (kick-off 7.35pm) to take on Munster in a fascinating Guinness PRO14 derby clash.

Ringrose makes a welcome return from a jaw injury to take his place in the centre, with Jimmy O’Brien, Luke McGrath and Will Connors also brought into the team that beat Ulster 24-12 last time out.

The versatile O’Brien is selected on the left wing for the first time – all of his previous Leinster starts were at full-back or outside centre – and the back-three is completed by Hugo Keenan and Jordan Larmour.

Ringrose is reunited with Robbie Henshaw in midfield for his 80th provincial cap, and captain Jonathan Sexton will have McGrath alongside him at half-back.

Openside Connors is the only change up front, swapping in for Josh van der Flier in a back row that also features Rhys Ruddock, Leinster’s player-of-the-month for each of the last three months, and Caelan Doris.

Sean Cronin continues at hooker following his try-scoring performance against Ulster, with Cian Healy and Andrew Porter either side of him. The second row spots are filled once more by Scott Fardy and James Ryan.

Anticipating a big battle in Limerick, tighthead Porter said: “It’s a huge game and it’s always been one of those that you look forward to in the calendar. It’s a shame we didn’t get to play them on Stephen’s Day but ever since we found out that we’d be playing them this weekend, it’s been at the forefront of all of our minds.

“Munster have been playing some really good rugby, especially coming back against Clermont. They’ve only lost one game in the PRO14 this season and are unbeaten at home as well.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us, going down to Thomond Park and playing a team of the calibre that Munster are. It’s a huge test but it’s something we’re relishing.

“It’s one of those games that everyone is looking forward to and I think the people at home will be looking forward to it as well. It’s really exciting.”

LEINSTER (v Munster): Hugo Keenan; Jordan Larmour, Garry Ringrose, Robbie Henshaw, Jimmy O’Brien; Jonathan Sexton (capt), Luke McGrath; Cian Healy, Sean Cronin, Andrew Porter, Scott Fardy, James Ryan, Rhys Ruddock, Will Connors, Caelan Doris.

Replacements: Ronan Kelleher, Ed Byrne, Tom Clarkson, Ross Molony, Jack Conan, Jamison Gibson-Park, Ross Byrne, Josh van der Flier.